Somalis who entered US illegally cite harassment and discrimination

I have been wondering for months whether Somalis were entering the US illegally across our borders and this article confirms they must be.   Although, the article in the Houston Chronicle  never actually tells us how these Somalis came to be in the US and why they are detained, I don’t know any other reason they should be in a facility such as this one in Texas other then illegally having entered the US.

Reading between the lines, these men must have been caught, detained and then asked for political asylum.   As we reported previously there are immigration lawyers jumping at the chance across this land to help the “persecuted” get into our refugee system.   If granted asylum they will get all the perks of the refugee program:  subsidized housing, food stamps, English lessons, a caseworker to help them find jobs, etc.

Attorneys for 10 Somali men held in an immigration detention center in South Texas allege that federal immigration officials segregated and interrogated their clients after they left a Muslim prayer service, saying they were subject to “discriminatory and unethical” questioning.

Lawyers for the asylum seekers said the men — detained at the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall — were targeted because they were Muslim and from Somalia. The lawyers contend that their clients were segregated into a separate dormitory for two to three days after they left a Dec. 8 prayer service at the detention facility celebrating the Muslim holiday, Eid.

The Somalis were not given the opportunity to contact their lawyers, according to a letter the attorneys sent Monday to several federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.


The questioning reportedly led one client to break down in tears, said Jonathan Ryan, executive director of San Antonio’s Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, which is representing the men along with an Austin-based organization, American Gateways.  [Can CAIR be far behind?]


Ryan said he and Edna Yang, another attorney representing the men, were still trying to figure out what would prompt the federal government to single out the Somali men.

I’m guessing Ryan and Yang have no clue about such things as Somali  terrorist groups like Al Shabaab wanting to throw the West into Hell!

Homeland Security, keep up the good work!

Refugees still flowing to Ft. Wayne, IN

We haven’t written about Ft. Wayne in awhile.   Back in August I wrote about the possible arrival of another resettlement agency moving into Ft. Wayne and referred to the plans of World Relief as a ‘cat fight’ with Catholic Charities.   It is really a turf fight as these federal contractors compete for refugees.  Since their taxpayer supported grants are apportioned by the head,  the flow of refugees to welcoming Ft. Wayne means good pickin’s. 

World Relief has arrived.

Resettlement of refugees typically has been the work of Catholic Charities in Fort Wayne, which helped bring more than 600 to the city last year.

But World Relief, a faith-based international humanitarian aid organization, announced this year that it would open an office in Fort Wayne, in large part because of the frequent request for placements by refugees with family members in the city.

Wow, look at these numbers!

About 5,000 Burmese refugees call Fort Wayne home now, with as many as 1,600 more expected to be resettled in the city over the next two years.

The influx has strained some non-profits and social-services agencies, but the community has continued to show support.

Since the worldwide suspension by the State Department of the Family Reunification (P-3) portion of the refugee resettlement program, I’m wondering how they could be expecting so many new refugees.   Of course, new refugees (free cases) are expected but this article specifically mentioned family reunification.  I suppose there are also some cases of secondary migration occurring.   Secondary migrants are refugees initially resettled elsewhere who then move to be near others of their nationality.    If white Europeans started to do this, we would be called racists, but it’s understood (and encouraged) that immigrants want to be with their own kind.  

Back to my story.

We first took notice of Ft. Wayne way back when we started writing RRW because the Allen County Health Department was overwhelmed by problems such as refugees with TB (Ft. Wayne freaking out here).   I guess they must be past their health crisis of ’07.

Now it’s a job crisis:

Most of the jobs that refugees take upon their arrival in the U.S. are in light manufacturing and service industries, Mah (World Relief’s President) said.

“We’re very concerned about that,” he said.

The economic downturn, of course, isn’t unique to Fort Wayne – World Relief has two dozen offices nationwide. Mah said the federal government tries to take local economic conditions into account when placing refugees.

So where are the new 1600 refugees going to work?  No one is saying.

How do the refugees get to your town?  

We wrote about this a long time ago too, but I haven’t seen mention of it for awhile.  If you think the US State Department is choosing your town, you are wrong.   Ten non-profit groups (volags) sit around and decide weekly if your town is on their target list.

Representatives of the 10 voluntary agencies responsible for resettling refugees, including World Relief and Catholic Charities, meet weekly to discuss incoming cases.

They place cases with a local resettlement office based on criteria such as community resources, refugees’ geographic preferences and reunifications of families.

UNHCR wants the EU to take more refugees

That is the gist of this news report from Reuters this week.    The Czech Republic is set to take over the Presidency of the European Union shortly and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is insisting that there is more uniform acceptance of refugees throughout Europe.   There must still be some countries holding out.

UNHCR is issuing today a document entitled “A Europe Without Barriers,” containing its recommendations to the Czech Republic, which will take up the rotating Presidency of the European Union (EU) for a six-month period on January 1, 2009.

UNHCR remains seriously concerned that current laws and practice within the European Union mean that persons in need of international protection are not necessarily able to find it throughout the Union. In the document, UNHCR urges the Czech Presidency to ensure the outcome of negotiations among the EU member states is consistent with international refugee law and human rights law.

You hear that EU!  You better not let any sovereign nations make their own decisions.  When the  UN says “jump”—you better jump or else.

Bigots are just sick at heart

That is the title of an opinion piece yesterday in The Australian.  The author is a professor of psychology who argues that it is counterproductive to label people who don’t like gays, foreigners or Muslims as homophobes, xenophobes and Islamophobes.  They are really just prejudiced, and not afflicted with a psychological malady, he says!

The author, Nick Haslam, sees the problem of using those words (phobia has a psychological definition) against people one disagrees with as resulting only in firming up the prejudiced persons prejudice.

…..seeing other people’s attitudes as phobias is counterproductive. People accused of homophobia, Islamophobia and so on can readily deny the accusation, first because they experience their aversion as rooted in moral principle rather than fear; and, second, because they bristle at the accuser’s condescension. In this position it is no surprise that people feel belittled or derided as attitudinal barbarians. The backlash that results among people who hold prejudiced attitudes, anger at the perceived arrogance and vanity of the so-called elites, helps to account for the durability of those attitudes.

And then this made me laugh.  Obviously suggesting that anyone concerned about the spread of Islam or excessive immigration is prejudiced, that their concerns are not based on legitimate fears arising from analysis of the evidence,  he sounds pretty prejudiced himself:

Prejudice flourishes among people who are cold, callous, inflexible, closed-minded and conventional, not among those who are anxious and fear-prone.

As I have joked before, I’m not a deep thinker!   So, I consider this type of discussion a waste of time because it keeps people occupied yakking instead of taking some action.  And right now I have fallen for the same trap because instead of getting news to you, I’m yakking about the meaning of words!

Nonetheless, I admit this piece was somewhat revealing, so here is more of what Mr. Haslam has to say in his attempt to eliminate the use of the “phobia” words.

DESCRIBING someone’s aversion to a group as a phobia is an attempt to insult the person. Their attitudes are nothing but the symptoms of a pathology. Homophobia, Islamophobia and so on would have no pejorative force if suffering from a mental disorder was not seen as shameful and demeaning. To diagnose people with these phobias is to recruit the stigma of mental illness to diminish them.

In this respect, the supposed phobias continue an ignoble tradition of misuse of psychiatric language. Schizophrenic, misunderstood as split personality, is still used to refer to any apparent contradiction, or even mature ambivalence, in a person’s thoughts, feelings or actions. Hysterical continues to be used to sneer at female emotionality.

Homophobic, xenophobic and Islamophobic should be seen in the same light, as ways of brushing aside opinions we dislike by invalidating the people who hold them.

It could be argued that none of this matters. Perhaps calling attitudes phobias is meant as harmless metaphor, not as literal diagnosis. But words have consequences, and the consequences of pathologising social attitudes include moral arrogance, invalidation and backlash. These disorders close the door on dialogue. Let’s cure our language of them.